Ministry of the Military

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Pre-modern Japan
Imperial seal of Japan
Part of a series on the politics and
government of Japan during the
Nara and Heian periods

Chancellor / Chief Minister
Daijō-daijin
Minister of the Left Sadaijin
Minister of the Right Udaijin
Minister of the Center Naidaijin
Major Counselor Dainagon
Middle Counselor Chūnagon
Minor Counselor Shōnagon
Eight Ministries
Center Nakatsukasa-shō  
Ceremonial Shikibu-shō
Civil Administration Jibu-shō
Popular Affairs Minbu-shō
Military Hyōbu-shō
Justice Gyōbu-shō
Treasury Ōkura-shō
Imperial Household Kunai-shō

The Ministry of the Military (兵部省 Hyōbu-shō?), also known as Ministry of War and sometimes called Tsuwamono no Tsukasa, was a division of the eighth century Japanese government of the Imperial Court in Kyoto,[1] instituted in the Asuka period and formalized during the Heian period. The Ministry was replaced in the Meiji period.

Overview[edit]

This part of the government bureaucracy has been variously identified as the Ministry of the Military[2] and the Ministry of War.[3]

The highest-ranking official or head of the military (兵部卿, Hyōbu-kyō?) was ordinarily a son or a close relative of the Emperor. This important court officer was responsible for directing all military matters; and after the beginning in the late 12th century, this military man would have been empowered to work with the shogunate on the emperor's behalf.[2]

The ambit of the Ministry's activities encompasses, for example:

  • oversight of the rosters of military officers, including examinations, appointment, ranks, etc.[4]
  • dispatching of troops[4]
  • supervision of arsenals of weapons, guards, fortifications and signal fires[4]
  • maintenance of pastures, military horses, and public and private horses and cattle[4]
  • administration of postal stations[4]
  • control of the manufacture of weapons and weapon-makers[4]
  • oversight of drumming and in flute playing[4]
  • control of public and private means of water transportation[4]
  • regulation of the training of hawks and dogs.[4]

History[edit]

The ministry was established as part of the Taika Reforms and Ritsuryō laws which were initiated in the Asuka period and formalized during the Heian period. After 702, the Hyōbu-shō replaced the Hyōseikan, which was created in 683.[5]

In the Edo period, titles associated with the ministry became ceremonial titles.

In the Meiji period, the hyōbu-shō was reorganized into a modern Ministry of War and Ministry of the Navy.

Hierarchy[edit]

The Asuka-, Nara- and Heian-period Imperial court hierarchy encompassed a ministry dealing with military affairs.[3]

In the 18th century, the top ritsuryō officials within this ministry structure were:

  • Minister or chief official (兵部卿 Hyōbu-kyō?), usually a son or a close relative of the Emperor.[6]
  • First assistant to the Minister (兵部大輔 Hyōbu-taifu?).[2]
  • Second assistant to the Minister (兵部少輔 Hyōbu-shō?).[2]
  • Senior staff officer (兵部大丞 Hyōbu no dai-jō?).[2]
  • Junior staff officers (兵部少丞 Hyōbu no shō-jō?), two positions.[2]
  • Director of dance (隼人正 Hayato no kami?), considered a very low rank.[2]
  • First assistant director (隼人佑 Hayato no jō?).[2]
  • Alternate assistant director (隼人令史 Hayato no sakan?).[2]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Kawakami, Karl Kiyoshi. (1903). The Political Ideas of the Modern Japan, pp. 36-38., p. 36, at Google Books
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, p. 431., p. 431, at Google Books
  3. ^ a b Ministry of War, Sheffield.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kawakami, p. 37 n3,, p. 37, at Google Books citing Ito Hirobumi, Commentaries on the Japanese Constitution, p. 87 (1889).
  5. ^ Nussbaum, Louis Frédéric et al. (2005). "Hyōbusho" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 363., p. 363, at Google Books
  6. ^ Varley, Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, p. 272; Titsingh, p. 431.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]